Defining a Foreign Terrorist Organization

Equating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) shows a profound lack of nuance. While the United States lists both ISIS and the PKK as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), their ideology and tactics are dramatically different.

ISIS was founded in 2006 based on the radical ideology of Jihadi-Salafism. As an offshoot of al-Qaeda, ISIS employs a harsh interpretation of Islamic law, justifying anti-Shiite sectarian views. ISIS believes that Shia are conspiring with the United States and secular Arab rulers to limit Salafi power in the Middle East.


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